Meat giant Cargill Inc. is recalling nearly 36 million pounds of ground turkey linked to a California death and at least 78 other salmonella illnesses nationwide, company officials said.
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the Class I recall, with the highest health risk, late Wednesday. All of the recalled products were produced at the company's Springdale, Ark., plant.
Products include "chubs" of fresh and frozen ground turkey meat, retail trays of ground turkey and ground turkey patties sold at grocery stores including Kroger, Safeway and Giant Eagle, according to company's recall list.
The massive recall follows the death of a Sacramento, Calif., resident tied to an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning that has sickened people in 26 states since March. At the family's request, no details about the death have been released.
In a statement, Cargill officials said the firm was suspending production of ground turkey at the Sprindale plant until it could identify the source of contamination and fix it.
“It is regrettable that people may have become ill from eating one of our ground turkey products and, for anyone who did, we are truly sorry,” Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill’s turkey processing business, said in a written statement to msnbc.com.
The recall was announced by Cargill Value Added Meats Retail, a subsidiary of the Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation. The company said that some of the ground turkey was sold in supermarkets under the Honeysuckle White brand. The company said it was recalling ground turkey produced at the Arkansas plant from Feb. 20 through Aug. 2.
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All of the packages recalled include the code "Est. P-963" on the label, the USDA said. The packages were labeled with many different brands, including Cargill's Honeysuckle White.
Cargill is contacting its customers to make sure they know which ground turkey products are affected by the recall. Consumers are urged to return any opened or unopened packages of ground turkey items listed on the company's recall site: www.cargill.com/turkey-recall.